Motomu Toriyama

Motomu Toriyama
Motomu Toriyama - Game Developers Conference 2010.jpg
Motomu Toriyama at the 2010 Game Developers Conference
Nationality Japanese
Occupation Director and scenario writer of video games at Square Enix.

Motomu Toriyama (鳥山 求, Toriyama Motomu) is a Japanese game director and scenario writer who has been working for Square Enix since 1994. He initially worked on cutscenes in Bahamut Lagoon and Final Fantasy VII before serving as event director on Final Fantasy X.

Toriyama started directing with Final Fantasy X-2 and has continued doing so with Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, Blood of Bahamut, Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII and Mobius Final Fantasy.

He also co-directed the Final Fantasy VII Remake and is part of the Final Fantasy Committee that is tasked with keeping the franchise's releases and content consistent.[1]


Motomu Toriyama joined Square around the time of the Final Fantasy VI launch in 1994. He later mentioned that he enjoyed how everyone on the development team had the opportunity to contribute their ideas without any solid job description. He was assigned to work on Bahamut Lagoon as his first project due to his lack of game development experience.[2] For Final Fantasy VII, Toriyama designed events such as the ones taking place at the Honey Bee Inn. As the designers were given much artistic freedom, he would often create cutscenes that were unlikely to be approved and thus were eventually changed or removed.[3][4] Toriyama also wrote and directed many of the scenes revolving around the romance between Aerith Gainsborough and Cloud Strife. He tried to make Aerith an important character to the player in order to maximize the impact of her death later in the plot.[4]

After the merger between Square and Enix in 2003, many rookie staff members had to be trained and there were more new platforms to develop for with the release of the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable. Toriyama decided to assemble and direct a team of scenario writers and joined various game projects.[2] He later collaborated with Final Fantasy X main programmer Koji Sugimoto and supervisor Yoshinori Kitase to create a Final Fantasy VII tech demo for the PlayStation 3. Development of this took around 6 weeks.[5] During the first year after the development start of Final Fantasy XIII in April 2004, Toriyama thought up a story premised on the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology created by Kazushige Nojima. In March 2006, when the structural part of the narrative started to come together and lead scenario writer Daisuke Watanabe joined the team, Toriyama showed him a rough outline of what he had written and asked him to flesh out the story and to correct how everything would connect.[6]

Toriyama has been the scenario director and supervisor on games in the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles series as well as Dissidia: Final Fantasy and The 3rd Birthday, which entailed the creation of a story concept and the supervision of the character conception and scenario writing by his team of authors.[2][7][8] For Lightning Returns, he added an online communication system known as the "Outerworld Services". Among others, it enabled players to write posts on social networks that would then appear as a non-playable character's comment in another player's game. Toriyama's goal with this was to create an online community where the individual members would interact and enjoy the game's world together without being online at the same time, as a precursor to online features found in eight-generation video game consoles.[9] The main ideas for all the areas in Lightning Returns came from him as well.[10]

Game design

Toriyama believes his strength is in directing games that are very story-driven.[11] He also thinks that it becomes very difficult to tell a compelling story when the player is given a huge amount of freedom to explore.[12] According to him, the most important aspect of a Final Fantasy game is the characters.[13] Toriyama explains that there are different approaches to creating a protagonist: with Yuna from Final Fantasy X, the general plot had already been set when the character was conceived; with Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII instead, the character's personality was decided upon before the backstory was written. He feels that a developer needs to "essentially fall in love at first sight with a character" to "keep [themselves] going". Toriyama considers the voice the "main image of the character" and thus "the most delicate part of making the character".[14]

Toriyama has stated that the aim of the linear game design used in the first half of Final Fantasy XIII was to feel like watching a film. This was done to absorb the player into the story and to introduce them to the characters and their battle abilities without becoming distracted or lost.[15] Toriyama explained that the amount of memory and processing power needed to produce impressive graphics was the main reason not to have a seamless battle system for Final Fantasy XIII. He is interested in using first-person shooter games for inspiration rather than Western role-playing video games, as he believes they give a better sense of tension during battles.[16] Toriyama would later use games such as Red Dead Redemption and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as inspirations for Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, respectively.[17][18] He feels that his role of director marked a shift from creating a game world based on his own vision to unifying a team's ideas into a cohesive whole.[19]


Video games

Release Title System Credit(s) Ref.
1996 Bahamut Lagoon Super Nintendo Entertainment System Story event planner
1997 Final Fantasy VII PlayStation Event planner, submarine chase section planner
1999 Racing Lagoon PlayStation Scenario writer, event and map planner
2001 Final Fantasy X PlayStation 2 Event director, scenario writer [20]
2003 Final Fantasy X-2 PlayStation 2 Director
2007 Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings Nintendo DS Director, scenario writer,[21][22] event direction
2007 The World Ends with You Nintendo DS Special thanks
2008 Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King Wii Scenario writer [23]
2008 Dissidia: Final Fantasy PlayStation Portable Scenario supervisor
2009 Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Nintendo DS Special thanks
2009 Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord Wii Scenario director
2009 Blood of Bahamut Nintendo DS Director, scenario writer
2009 Fullmetal Alchemist: Prince of the Dawn Wii Scenario director [24]
2009 Final Fantasy XIII PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 Director, scenario designer (story outline),[6] lyrics[25]
2010 Front Mission Evolved PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows Senior scriptwriter
2010 The 3rd Birthday PlayStation Portable Scenario director
2011 Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy PlayStation Portable Special thanks
2011 Imaginary Range iOS, Android Supervisor
2011 Fortune Street Wii Text writing
2011 Final Fantasy XIII-2 PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 Director, lyrics [26]
2013 Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Lightning Strikes event) Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 Scenario writer [27]
2013 Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 Director, lyrics [28]
2013 Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita Supervisor
2014 Spirit Yankee Soul (Racing Lagoon event) iOS, Android Scenario director [29]
2015-2020 Mobius Final Fantasy iOS, Android, Windows Director,[30][31][32] lyrics
2015 Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Arcade Special thanks [33]
2017 Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward (Patch 3.56) Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Mac OS X Special thanks
2017 Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood Windows, PlayStation 4, Mac OS X Special thanks
2017 Itadaki Street: Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita Scenario supervisor
2018 Dissidia Final Fantasy NT PlayStation 4 Special thanks
2018 Final Fantasy Brave Exvius iOS, Android Special thanks
2019 War of the Visions: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius iOS, Android Special thanks
2020 Final Fantasy VII Remake PlayStation 4 Co-director, scenario design, original lyrics, song titles

Other media

Release Title Credit(s) Ref.
2009 Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero: Promise Original concept [34][35]
2010 Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero: Promise Fabula Nova Dramatica Alpha Original concept [36]
2010 Final Fantasy XIII Side Story: A Dreaming Cocoon Falls into the Dawn Original concept [37]
2010 Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero: Promise Fabula Nova Dramatica Omega Original concept [38]
2010 Final Fantasy XIII: Episode i Original concept [39]
2011 Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments Before Original concept [40][41]
2012 Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments After Original concept [42][43]
2013[A] Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Chronicle of a Chaotic Era Original concept [44]
2014 Final Fantasy XIII: Reminiscence -tracer of memories- Original concept [45]
2016 Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV Special thanks